Immediate release 11/25/2015
In a resolution passed this weekend, the 176th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri urged its membership of 11,500 Episcopalians in the eastern half of the state to stand in solidarity with refugees and migrants.
Prayer, advocacy with government and elected officials, and active participation in resettlement efforts locally and nationally were called for by resolution I-176, passed on Nov. 21, 2015 at the judicatory’s annual meeting held in Chesterfield.
The convention asks all Americans to rely on “our deeply-held common values of freedom, liberty, and justice for all as we continue today the tradition of welcoming those fleeing persecution and seeking freedom in this nation of immigrants.”
Public officials were charged to “resist politicizing the acceptance of refugees based upon national identity, race, or religion.” The convention urged support for the work of the Departments of Homeland Security, Defense, Justice and other branches of the United States Government in screening refugees hoping to resettle here.
“The story of migrants and refugees are at the heart of our scriptures. ‘Welcome the stranger among you’ is commanded to God’s people more than once in the Bible,” said the Rev. Mike Angell, one of the authors of the resolution. Angell is rector of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion in University City, a church that includes migrant families, and is committed to refugee advocacy.
The convention encouraged its members to pray “for all of those whose lives have been affected by terrorism, including refugees fleeing Syria.”
The resolution urged a more engaged relationship with three organizations actively working on refugee and migration issues: Episcopal Migration Ministries, which is the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s refugee resettlement service; the Episcopal Public Policy Network , an advocacy organization; and the International Institute of St. Louis.
The resolution’s rationale included quotes from newly installed Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. Michael Curry, “We welcome the stranger. We love our neighbor. The Episcopal Church has long been committed to resettling in our own communities refugees fleeing violence and persecution.”
Full text of the resolution is online at diocesemo.org/I-176.